Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy: Rhymes, Songs and Touch-Play Activities to Stay Connected
By: Martine Groeneveld
Illustrated by: Brad Kunkle
Publisher: PT Book Publishing
Publication Date: November 2009
Reviewed by: Pamela Victor
Review Date: November 2009
Though it’s bad news for my previous standard baby shower gift, Pat the Bunny, I am delighted to have found a new must-own picture book for parents and their babies, toddlers, preschoolers and beyond. Martine Groeneveld’s Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy: Rhymes, Songs and Touch-Play Activities to Stay Connected should be on every new parent’s coffee table. (Don’t bother putting it on the shelf. You’ll want to share it with your children too often to make it worth the extra clean up effort.)
Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy is a charming set of rhymes, games, songs, and stories that incorporate touch in the telling. Most of us have played “This Little Piggy Goes to Market,” much to the delight of the little munchkins who adore the touch and direct interaction. Groeneveld takes this idea much, much further as she applies enormous thought, expertise and consideration to the concept of hands-on interaction with little ones. For example, to “Itsy Bitsy Spider” the author instructs us to walk up with two fingers up the child’s back (up the waterspout,) then tap lightly with fingertips back down (down came the rain,) followed by long strokes from the shoulders down to the lower back (washed the spider out.) For “out came the sun and dried up all the rain,” we can make a big circle on the child’s back, before finally finger-walking up the back when the spider “climbs up the spout again.” I tried out this one on my 11-year-old daughter, and she just melted with relaxation and bliss! Then at my daughter’s request, I put the book down and repeated the rhyme, remembering that the author offers these tender touches as suggestions rather than firm instructions. “I don’t recommend memorizing the routines;” she writes in the introduction, “rather, following what comes naturally and what feels good to your child. Keep it simple so you and your child will be able to relax and enjoy completely.”
Along with the compilation of beautifully illustrated rhymes, stories and games, Groeneveld offers parents and caregivers a vast amount of helpful information. As a registered nurse, licensed massage therapist, certified infant massage instructor and mother of two, Groeneveld is enormously generous in the well-thought out, clearly explained guidance she provides in this book. She instructs us how much pressure and the direction of strokes to use as well as how to find the “right moment” to incorporate these precious interactions in your daily life. In addition, Groeneveld provides handy tips for many of the selections to encourage additional intellectual stimulation as well as how to make the games more developmentally specific.
If you weren’t already convinced of the many special moments created by Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy, Groeneveld provides information on research supporting the benefits of touch. It appears that touch has numerous rewards, including improving alertness and responsiveness in babies, increasing cognitive performance, stimulating brain development and reducing aggression. But when it comes down to it, your child won’t be thinking about positive benefits when he or she insists, “Do ‘Ants Are Playing’ on my ears! Do ‘Ants Are Playing’ on my ears!” again and again. For at its very core, this book provides endless opportunities for creating special moments between a parent and child. And what could be more valuable than that? As Groeneveld writes, “This book offers you a way to stay in loving touch with your child. Nurturing touch within a family is the foundation of healthy child development. As parents, we have magic in our fingertips!”
Quill says: This is the new must-own book for all parents and caregivers of small children! Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy is more than just a book; it’s a collection of cherished childhood memories.